Writing and Distribution
Jan 19, 2023
My writing history is all over the web. In some cases, it's well preserved. In others, it's hard to find. This is generally because I bounce between writing solutions like a kid with a pocket full of quarters at an arcade. Way back in the day, I wrote blog posts in Dreamweaver and published them in the OG no-code way. Then I found Blogger. Then I tried WordPress. Then Medium came along and changed the game from an experience perspective. Finally, there was Ghost.
The trouble wasn't just options. There have always been options. The problem was in balancing my wants and my needs. I've always been stuck worrying about three main things:
This has led to the bounce-around approach I mentioned above. Blogger had some discoverability baked in, but I didn't control my site and the writing experience was bad. WordPress gave me control through self-hosting, but discoverability was bad and until their most recent editor version, the writing experience was bad. Medium provided tons of discoverability and the best writing experience on the web, but it gave me next to no control. Ghost, like WordPress gave me control, but it took things a step further with a great writing experience. However, Ghost didn't help with discoverability.
This three-headed problem has led to my writing being fragmented across many sources. It has led to me being one of Ghost's worst customers (Sorry, Ghost). I've subsribed and cancelled my Ghost service more times than I can count. I've rolled my own static site generated blog, I've gone back to Medium, I've looked at Substack and crypto-native solutions like Mirror. But it never felt like I had a sound strategy to solve all three desires for my writing.
The solution I'll be experimenting with for 2023 is still a fragmented strategy with a centralized canonicalized reference point. Here's the plan.
For personal updates (like this one), I'll publish on my own site only. The articles will canonically originate here and should only appear here.
For product and startup articles, I'll post on Substack (technically, I have a Substack account but have not really used it yet) and copy to my site. Substack does not support canonical URLs, so I'm not sure yet if I will cross post to my own site.
For my technical tutorials, I will post on Medium. Medium does support canonical URLs, so I may experiment with cross-posting and settingthe canoncial URL in Medium.
For my web3/crypto specific articles, I will be testing a sort of Substack style competitor specifically built for the space called Paragraph. I'm not sure if Paragraph supports canonical URLs, but it's likely my writing about web3 will just live there and not appear on this site anyway.
I believe I've been trying to solve my writing problems in the wrong way. An all-encompassing solution would be amazing, but I don't know that it can exist. I think it is up to me as a writer to put in the effort and to leverage the tools available to satisfy my three requirements.